Cape Town’s tourism sector in full swing this summer

The Cape Town tourism sector is reporting a marked improvement in traffic at restaurants, shops and attractions for December 2011, while the accommodation sector is also reporting a positive holiday upswing.

Following a mid-December poll of Cape Town Tourism members where over half of respondents expected a marginally better summer season compared to summer 2010/11, tourist numbers seem to be improving beyond what was initially anticipated, and there is every indication that we have seen the start of a very positive peak season.

Statistics across the board are not yet available, but Cape Town International Airport reported an earlier start to the summer season with a 14% increase in international arrivals compared to November 2010. There was an 11.7% increase in regional arrivals and a 3.6% increase in domestic arrivals during November 2011. January and February are traditionally peak months for international arrivals and a steady year-on-year increase in international tourists is expected.

Major Cape Town attractions reported a noticeable increase in international and national tourists during December, while the majority of visitors hailed from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Last-minute bookings also picked up sharply during this time. The V&A Waterfront recorded more than 3-million visitors during December, the Table Mountain Cableway had more than 100 000 visitors and the City Sightseeing Bus reported a busy festive season with their famous red top buses running at full capacity during December.

Due to an increase in the accommodation sector, some Cape Town hotels were not running at full capacity, however many establishments on the Atlantic Seaboard, particularly in Camps Bay and the city centre were booked to capacity between Christmas and New Year. Travellers visiting friends and relatives often stay with them which explains the marked increase in arrivals by road. In addition, all rental cars in Cape Town were booked between 20 and 31 December 2011.

It is evident that budget travel is becoming increasingly important, making it imperative that establishments and tourism businesses price themselves according to their respective target markets, provide excellent service to all visitors and offer value-added services that leave visitors feeling that their money was well spent.

Now, more than ever, travellers are prepared to shop around for good deals and are taking heed of online user-generated tools such as TripAdvisor when planning their stays and experiences.

Cape Town was named TripAdvisor’s number one destination in 2011 and with other recent accolades such as World Design Capital 2014 and Table Mountain becoming one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the Mother City is enjoying a high level of exposure. It is essential that we use these awards to market the city domestically and internationally.

Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove says, “On the back of one of the worst winters in a decade Cape Town’s tourism industry is by no means out of the woods, yet the positive feedback about December is very encouraging. We have had some good weather, which plays an important role in dispersing visitors across the Peninsula and greater metropole as they seek out beaches and nature reserves.

“What’s even more encouraging is to note that major attractions such as the Table Mountain Cableway, the V&A Waterfront and the City Sightseeing Bus report a noteworthy number of Capetonians being tourists in their own city and contributing meaningfully to tourism spend over the festive season. It is essential that our own citizens enjoy their city as much as visitors do.”

Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing says, “Tourism is a major contributor to the country’s economy and its low barrier to entry and diverse skills set provides excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMMEs. Cape Town is focused on attracting more domestic visitors and visitors from new markets to boost our long-standing relationships with our key source markets.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove, skye@capetown.travel or see www.capetown.travel.

Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 (0)21 448 9705, +27 (0)73 202 5041, tammy@rabbitinahat.co.za.

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